With over 80,000 individuals entering Federal Prison each year, and more than that awaiting trial or sentencing, is it any wonder that there are a lot of first time offenders out there who are anxious and filled with questions and doubt?
They may be wondering:
• What is Federal Prison going to be like?
• Am I going to be safe?
• What should I be doing to prepare?
I spent over five years in Federal Prison and based on my experience, I want to share with you what actions can you take NOW, before going to prison, that will help your transition from the outside world to life inside.
The first thing you want to do is choose someone, usually a family member or close friend, and give them power-of-attorney over your affairs. This person can then make decisions for you while you are in prison.
Things such as calling creditors and dealing with bank accounts on your behalf, selling items/property in your name, et cetera. This is really important, and so easy. You fill out a simple form, have your selected person go with you to a notary public, and you both sign.
2) Create a Will
The second thing you need to do, if you haven’t already, is create a simple will, and again, get it notarized. Don’t freak out – I’m not suggesting that you may not make it out of prison alive, however a will is very important to have in case anything happens to you in prison. One place to find the necessary forms inexpensively is US Legal Forms. Find them at: http://www.uslegalforms.com.
3) Stockpile Cash
Another important action to take is to stockpile some cash that you can use during your prison time to buy some of the necessary items, such as food, clothing, stamps, emails & phone calls through your commissary account.
Keep in mind that you are going to want about $1,000- $2,000 of spending money for each year you spend in prison. Use this as your guide.
4) Talk to your Employer
Wherever you work, it’s also important that you talk with your employer about taking you back when you get out. Nothing feels better than walking out of prison knowing you have a job waiting for you.
5) Prepare Mentally
One other suggestion I have for you is to start to prepare yourself mentally for your transition from freedom to prison. There is a wonderful book you should consider reading, even if you take it out of the library. It’s called: We’re All Doing Time: A Guide for Getting Free by Bo Lozoff. Another is Man’s Search for Meaning by: Victor Frankel.
Both of these books will give you some insight on how to manage mentally, physically, and emotionally while incarcerated.
The key to Surviving & Thriving in prison is to be proactive – take steps now to ensure that your time inside will be as painless and smooth as possible. By taking these five steps, it will allow you to become less anxious because you will have set yourself up for a smooth transition.